TEAM ARTEMIS – To put it mildly, the 34th America’s Cup is extremely equipment intensive. Each wing sail involves about 25,000 man-hours to design and construct, while each AC72 racing boat uses some 50,000 man-hours. Each team is allowed three wing sails and two boats. It’s a massive undertaking says Paul Cayard, CEO of Artemis Racing, Challenger for the America’s Cup representing the Royal Swedish Yacht Club.
“To give some perspective, a Version 5 boat from previous Cup events had about 22,000 to 25,000 man-hours in it and we were only allowed to build two back in those days,” said Cayard, a long-time Ross resident. “We’re now building seven Version 5 boats and we’re still doing it in two-plus years.”
It’s a heck of a lot of work for the boat builders and the shore team to maintain, Cayard explained. And it’s just one part of competing in the America’s Cup which will be raced on the bay in September. Cayard’s been around the Cup for 30 years so he has the experience it takes to run a world-class sailing team. But this challenge has been more than just building a boat or two.
Artemis Racing is a completely new team, unlike its competition Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Luna Rossa (ITA) and Oracle Racing (USA). Cayard has built Artemis pretty much from scratch. He started about two years ago and today the team, which is based in Alameda, has 120 people.
“It’s a medium-sized business and running it is an undertaking of itself let alone the actual task that you’re trying to perform, more than ever before this time because the equipment has been complicated, it’s ultra high tech and certainly expensive,” Cayard said.
Competing in the most complicated boats in Cup history, one would hope to be able to optimize the potential of these 72-foot beasts, but that just never happens in this game, says Cayard.
“Whenever you go to a new class of boat that’s part of the game,” Cayard said. “You’re always going to leave something on the table so the strategy and tactics revolve around the fact that you’re not going to get everything done and have everything perfect.”
The AC72 has proven to be an intense challenge, both on the water and off. The equipment takes so long to build — and subsequently repair — that teams like Artemis and Oracle who damaged first generation equipment in the early days training on their 72s have suffered huge delays in being where it matters most — on the water.
While Artemis was the first to sail with an AC72 wing, they were also the first to break one, which they did when training with it on an ORMA 60 trimaran back in May, seriously delaying the sailing of their first AC72. Artemis now has 10 days on the water. Oracle is still without a 72 to train on after it crashed its AC72 in mid-October after just eight days of sailing on it.
By comparison, Emirates Team New Zealand has successfully completed 30 days training on its AC72 and will launch its second AC72, the boat it will race in the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series starting in July. Luna Rossa, also training on its first AC72 in New Zealand has more than 15 sessions under its belt.
Cayard knows that his team is under the gun but has prioritized what it’ll take to make the start line come July.
“We need to understand the limits of these boats and that revolves a lot around the dagger boards and what they can provide in terms of lift,” Cayard said. “The sooner we can understand what it means to sail near to the edge then how to create some buffer for the boat so it doesn’t go over the edge and capsize, the better.”
In order to accomplish this goal, Artemis recently announced a major change in its afterguard. Helmsman and renowned match racer American Terry Hutchinson was moved off the Team and replaced by young Australian skiff sailor Nathan Outteridge and Loick Peyron, French multi-hull sailing superstar. Outteridge is a four-time world champion and took gold in the 49er at the London Olympics, while Peyron’s many years of big multi-hull experience is a big advantage, says Cayard.
“We’ve just had the boat out in 20 knots for the first time and to have someone with 30 years experience at the helm in those conditions will help fast track our learning. We need that,” Cayard said.
Artemis will launch its second AC72 in April. They’ll be taken off task to attend two AC45 events in Naples (April) and New York (May).
“We’ll try to find ways to handle those two events but we really just need to focus on our AC72 and to sail it well, not have it break down day in and day out on the bay in the summertime in very harsh conditions,” Cayard said.
On a personal level it’s a dream come true for Cayard to be working with Artemis on his home turf after many years of being on the road.
“I’ve lived in Marin County now since 1996 and I’ve lived all over the world,” Cayard said. “We’re really blessed here in Marin County — I love it and am really going to try hard to find a way to stay here no matter how the Cup comes out.”
By Michelle Slade IJ correspondent See more at MARINIJ.COM